10 Signs Your Business is Suffering a Slow, Painful Death

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

Not long after the Coldwell Banker Kennedy group in Manhattan died this year, one of my clients asked me, "How can you tell your Real Estate Brokerage is dying a slow painful death?"

It's a good question, but it's a lot like going to that website where you can type in your birthday and your career.

Then you press the button and hold your breath and it will predict the month and year you will die of old age. It's a site that can be a little bit scary. Sure the date and month might be wrong, but who wants to tempt fate?

For me, I don't want to know.  Ignorance for me on that date is pure bliss for me. But we also know that nothing lasts forever.  

Cradle to Grave. Life and Death. Everything has a beginning and an end.

So it follows your real estate business will transform one day. It might be sold or merged. Or, it just might die.   

This year showed a lot of change for REALTORS. Thousands started blogging for the very first time. Thousands finally gave in and created their first page on FaceBook, and created their first Micro-Blog posts on Twitter.

Brokers who can afford it, hired a design or ad agency and built a new website from scratch, had it optimized and are right now either on page one of Google, or well on their way to a top page rank later this year. 

Others aren't going to be as fortunate, purely because the law of averages are against you. Do the math. If you're a REALTOR doing business in say, Omaha Nebraska, there's only 10 positions on Google's left side when next time home buyers go looking for "omaha homes for sale," or "omaha real estate."

According to the local MLS, there's just over 2,000 REALTORS in the area. So it follows with only ten positions on Google, only a mix of ten brokers or agents can show up on Google's first page search results.

The rest of them... will have to spend more money on Pay Per Click and hope they get clicked on when they show up sometimes on Google's AdWords.

No matter how you read it, the death of any company goes far beyond business statistics. It's always a sad day when any business closes their doors for the last time. Some are going to retire. Others are just going to toss in the towel and call it a day.

Some agents are going to go to work tomorrow morning and find an emergency meeting has been called by the broker to give everyone some "really bad news."

In the past three years, 28 real estate businesses I have been working for sold or merged. 11 of them folded their business. 5 retired. And my good friend and broker I worked for shot and killed himself on my birthday two years ago.  He had Parkinson's Disease and toward the end, I was signing all his paperwork and writing the checks because his hands shook so hard...he couldn't even hold a pen to sign his name anymore. He was a gifted man and he was a fabulous mentor and my best friend. I really miss him.  

With so many businesses folding, this blog post should help the rank and file agents an many brokers recognize the early warning signs your business is dying a slow and painful death.


1.) Your agents are leaving the brokerage to join Amazing Realty. Who is page one on Google.  Plus, that broker doesn't rent desks. 

2.) Your broker spends ZERO dollars or effort marketing your website off line. No radio ads. No Website URL on your Yard Signs.  Etc.

3.) Nobody blogs at your agency. Nobody has a FaceBook page. Nobody at your agency Chirps on Twitter.

4.) Your website requires visitors to first sign up before you show them listings or any listing detail. (VOW system).

5.) Nobody bothers to check LEADS generated from your website, nor you have any clue where your leads came from when you get them.

6.) No daily reports are emailed to you showing Visitor Traffic, where they came from what keywords, URL referrals, etc.. ( Like VisiStat.com )

7.) Nobody at your agency publishes a monthly newsletter to send out to subscribers. Or you have no Sign Up for a FREE Newsletter link on your site, either. 

8.) You're broker spends 50% or more of the annual marketing / advertising budget on print ads. Newspaper, Real Estate Guide ads, postcards.

9.) Your broker provides no monthly or weekly Featured Speakers who can teach agents how to blog, use social media to help build new business, SEO strategies.

10.) Your broker spends ZERO on Google Pay Per Click (PPC) ads, Press Releases or banners on any Social Media network. 





If you answered YES to 1-2 questions above, you'll need to improve but you're taking four steps back for every three steps you make forward.

If you answered YES to  3-4 questions above, your business should consider a Website Make Over, PPC and SEO to fix the bleeding. 

If you answered YES to 5 or more questions above, the brokerage is on life support and it's just a matter of time before the inevitable.  



- bart

Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


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Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

That was very insightful.  I have often thought much the same thing.  That's why I left a big name brokerage a little over a year ago.  They didn't charge me for my nice corner office, but they also weren't doing much for my bottom line.  I ran the numbers and decided that anything and everything that contributed to my net could be done by me, for me and with me much more effciently and at less expense.  Great post. 

Aug 02, 2009 02:32 PM #1
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

Thanks Don. Much appreciated. I have been playing catch up on some blogging posts because I've been swamped with family stuff and I'm trying to relocate to Colorado and sell our firm. Need to catch up on some blogging posts. I had three voice mails today from folks crying they didn't get my usual Saturday Evening Post (blog). 

I've always been a BIG advocate for going independent. Good for you, Don. It's the way to go. 

I'm sure the big toes at Cendant are having a bigger problem making their boat payments these days.

I have 2 clients that are with them. One is five months BEHIND on their monthly royalty payments, the other is 4 months behind.

Sign O the times.

- bart   

Aug 02, 2009 03:03 PM #2
Tom Boos
Sine & Monaghan Realtors, Real Living - Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Providing the very best of service to Sellers and

I think your list is very valid.  The signs are all around us.  Those Brokers stuck in the "middle ages" are quickly disappearing while those who've embraced technology are prospering.

Aug 03, 2009 05:47 AM #3
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Bart - I am one of those thousands of agents getting in on this SEO, social marketing, and blogging stuff within the past year or so.  I know I have a long way to go, but thanks to posts like this one, I have hope that I am moving in the right direction.  I believe that if I keep working at it, all my efforts will pay off.

Sep 12, 2009 09:04 AM #4
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VR Software and 360° Solutions
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